It’s not true that dogs have cleaner mouths than humans do. In actuality, canines have hundreds of bacteria in their mouths and disease transmission between dog and human is possible (although the risk is relatively low). A bacterium called Pasteurella can cause an infection if it comes into contact with a person’s open sore. Parasites that are sometimes present in a dog’s stool, like giardia, can also pose a danger if an infected dog licks himself and then his human. Although the likelihood of disease transmission in this matter is not particularly high, it is possible.
Who Should Take Extra Care?
Anyone with a compromised immune system, including people undergoing chemotherapy and diabetics, would be better off avoiding doggie kisses. Pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with an open wound should also probably steer clear.
Dog bites are also a concern when you get too close to a dog’s face. Even the friendliest of dogs can sometimes interpret this behavior as an invasion of personal space and feel threatened. This is of particular concern with children, so it’s important to educate kids about respecting a dog’s space.